Tourists Return to Pharaoh’s Kingdom
‘Welcome to Cairo.” “Happy New Year!” “Where are you from? Germany?” “Happy Valentine’s Day!” “Welcome to Alaska!” “No? Welcome, America!” Egypt was delighted to see me. So overjoyed, in fact, that Egyptians couldn’t contain themselves.
They shouted greetings (some comprehensible, others befuddling) wherever I walked: along pinched lanes in the old Islamic quarter, inside pharaonic temples and tombs, in a Nubian village in Aswan, on the sandy shores of the Red Sea.
The pleasantries came from policemen on horseback, vendors pushing heavy carts of peanuts and men smoking shisha in outdoor cafes, their salutations released in plumes of scented smoke.